If It’s Tagore, Tread Lightly
Censorship operates at multiple levels, as our film-makers have discovered. Priyanka Chopra, Bollywood and Hollywood star, wants to make a Bengali-Marathi bilingual, Nalini, on the ‘relationship’ between the 17-year-old Rabindranath Tagore and his London-educated friend—and English tutor—Annapurna Turkhud. Tagore had been sent by his elder brother Satyendranath Tagore, ICS, to learn English etiquette in Turkhud’s family in Bombay in 1878-79. Priyanka’s production company wants to shoot in Visva-Bharati University, but the latter has sought the full script and set up a panel to decide on the request. The panel would examine whether Tagore’s ‘dignity’ would be maintained in the film based on his friendship with Anna, whom he referred to as ‘Nalini’ in two of his poems. Director Ujjwal Chatterjee (Escape From Taliban) says Tagore himself had admitted to the relationship.